I've been thinking about how my initial description of my service sites does not do justice to any of them. I have experienced and enjoyed so much at each place. I have many wonderful stories to share of each day here. I'll start with some daily happenings.
My week starts in the school, so I'll begin there. Benedictine School for Exceptional Children has a great website which I suggest you take a look at: benschool.org Their mission upholds the dignity of the human person I reflected on in my recent blog post. I go to a classroom never knowing what to expect. Each day is different; each day I learn something; each day there is at least one difficult situation or student but also many things that brighten my day. Upon arriving in a classroom I may find each student in his/her desk quietly or I may find three of the four students lying on the floor while the fourth is loudly proclaiming some combination of vowel sounds from her chair. The size of the classrooms varies from three to six students with anywhere from two to six staff (one teacher, with teacher's assistants).
In a typical day I will work individually with a student at his/her workstation. Depending on the student's abilities, he might do an activity such as matching shapes, completing a puzzle, or snapping lids onto small plastic containers. Next we might go to music class. The music time is adapted for the students. The students respond well to this type of music therapy as they play hand instruments and/or sing along to children's sing-a-longs. It is beautiful observing how the students open up in this environment when they otherwise do not. We then may have snack time, leisure time, or a fitness walk in the gym. Oftentimes I help out at lunch; after lunch there is transition time. Following this may be more individual work time, Home Ec, and/or swim time.
In Home Ec the students use electronic devices that take them step by step through putting together a snack. The process is broken down to individual food items, spoon, bowl, taking a scoop of something, putting that in the bowl, etc. The students are able to practice skills such as scooping, spreading with a knife, opening lids, and of course following directions. Many of the kids love swim time. Some of them even have a half hour of individual swim time; this is a great way to channel some of their energy.
The students get almost one-on-one attention; most students also go to individual activities every day which helps the teachers to minimize the number of kids in a classroom at one time. As well as individual swim time, students have OT, PT, counseling or therapy sessions, and also participate in life skills that earn them "money." In the ITC (Industrial Training Center) simple skills are practiced by such things in putting together kits with various parts or screwing caps on test tube vials and boxing them. As mentioned in my first blog post, the Benedictine Programs include the Adult Services Graphics Department: Print Shop that designs and prints paper products such as invitations, clothing embroidery area, and screen printing department --all for businesses, etc in the surrounding area; Busy Bees cleaning service, Baker Bees, Bees car wash, and Bee Blossoms who have their own greenhouse and flower business. Though students assist in some of these programs, they are mostly for graduates in the adult day program.
As this is from my perspective and experiences, I again encourage you to visit the school's website: benschool.org
More on my experiences soon! Know you each are in my thoughts with gratitude for your support!